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Birth Injury

The birth of a child is the most wonderful time in a parent’s life, and when you just had a baby, the last thing you want to hear is that your baby got a birth injury. A birth injury is a result of trauma to the baby or mother caused due to medical negligence and careless mistakes made by your healthcare provider, or flawed hospital policy during the birthing process. Negligent prenatal care can also result in harm to the baby and/or mother. In situations such as these where the harm was avoidable, it is important that the legal rights of both baby and parent are fully safeguarded.

The birth injury cases can differ greatly, but most situations involve one of two general types of situations: either the doctor’s failure to assess or respond to conditions, or injuries due to prenatal care, like prescription drugs.

In the first type, for example, a doctor may fail to recognize pregnancy disorders; failure to perform a necessary cesarean section; failure to identify birth defects. A lawsuit arising from these types of situation will usually include a medical malpractice claim against the physicians and other medical practitioners, or a claim against the hospital where the treatment or delivery took place.

In the second type, for example, a pregnant woman may have taken a prescription drug under the guidance of a doctor or pharmacist. In such a situation where the drug causes injury, you may also have a claim against the drug manufacturer and the pharmacist who assisted you with your prescription.

It is essential to determine if complications were caused by a birth defect or a birth injury. A birth injury is usually defined as an injury that occurs to the baby during labor or delivery. If a birth injury caused by a doctor’s improper medical technique or improper use of a medical device during labor or delivery, or by improper prenatal care, you have a valid legal claim against the doctor or pharmacist.

Birth defects usually occur as a result of harm to a baby during pregnancy. Reasons are different, for example genetics, alcohol use during pregnancy or unknown reasons. It’s usually hard to have a successful legal claim if a baby is born with a birth defect.

The most common types of preventable birth injuries caused by outside factors are:

  • Pulling and/or twisting the infant improperly during the delivery period;
  • Improper handling and use of birth-assisting tools, such as forceps or a vacuum extraction tool;
  • Administering the wrong amount or the wrong type of medication to the mother during pregnancy and during labor;
  • Failure to monitor the infant properly for distress, including failure to regularly monitor fetal heartbeat;
  • Failure to schedule and perform an emergency cesarean surgery (C-section).

If you faced a birth injury, it might be a good idea to consult with a lawyer to find out whether or not there is a potential legal claim. An experienced birth injury lawyer can help you understand these rights while at the same time work diligently to ensure that you have the best chances in proving your case. Birth injury cases can be complex and involve deadlines for filing a lawsuit, therefore it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced attorney as soon as you can after the injury has happened.

About the author

Thomas Elliott

Education: Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, New York. Pace University, White Plains, New York.
Professional Associations and Memberships: American Bar Association, New York State Bar, The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Brooklyn Bar Association, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).

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